Health Sciences Campus

Future medical student getting head start on research

The East Carolina Scholar and Brody early assurance student has been honing her research skills in Dr. David Tulis' lab

Shayna Mooney has been studying cardiac muscle in the physiology lab of Dr. David Tulis. Photo by Cliff Hollis
GREENVILLE, N.C.  (June 24, 2011)  —  One member of the South Central High School class of 2011 already has the next several years of her life mapped out.

Shayna Mooney will attend East Carolina University through the school's most prestigious undergraduate scholarship, the East Carolina Scholars program. She plans to major in biology and neuroscience and minor in international studies.

But that's not all. Mooney also has been accepted into the early assurance program at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. That means if she meets certain academic requirements she will be admitted to medical school at ECU after college graduation without having to compete with other applicants or take the Medical College Admission Test, a five-hour examination of writing, science and reasoning skills.

"Being able to know you have a spot reserved in medical school … is a stress reliever, and I can explore other disciplines I want to in college," Mooney said.

Mooney is the daughter of Dr. Nick and Duhita Mooney.

Her honors, awards and organizational participation and leadership take up two printedsheets of paper and include a first place award at the science Olympiad, the highest overall grade-point average in the Pitt County Health Sciences Academy and the N.C. Board of Education Outstanding State Leader.

Last June, she was elected to the eight-member National Executive Council of Health Occupations Students of America.

Her aim is to become a primary care physician and said Brody is "the perfect fit for me because they have one of the best primary care programs in the country."

Mooney also said she loves science and has been pursuing that subject during the past year by working in the laboratory of Dr. David Tulis, an associate professor of physiology at the Brody School of Medicine. She quickly gained an understanding of theories and processes such that she's listed as a co-author on several works including a scientific manuscript being submitted for review.

"She's awesome," Tulis said. "This next year as an ECU freshman, Shayna will face many challenges, yet I have full confidence that she will tackle those challenges and will succeed."

Mooney is looking forward to starting college, meeting new people and studying with her classmates. She's also anticipating the service opportunities her scholarship will bring.

"I have a big heart, and I'm passionate about helping others," Mooney said. "Also, I love science. That's my favorite subject in school, specifically biology.

"I'm so excited," she added. "High school has been fun, but I'm ready for something different. I'm ready for college."

Established in 1998, the four-year merit East Carolina Scholars program recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills. Recipients receive a scholarship for four years, along with a stipend for study abroad, for a total value of approximately $45,000. Candidates for the E.C. Scholars program must have an SAT score that exceeds 1,300 and rank in the top 5 percent of their high school class.

While at ECU, E.C. Scholars must maintain a 3.5 grade-point average in rigorous coursework, participate in the university Honors College and perform 24 hours of community service each semester. All E.C. Scholars complete a study abroad experience and a senior honors project.

Mooney isn't the only E.C. Scholar to be accepted into the Brody early assurance program. Dakota Johnson of Gastonia and Mansi Trivedi of Cary also have been promised a spot at the medical school.

Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2482